Chairman Nick Locke preparing for Weobley's Herefordshire League Premier Division debut (From Hereford Times)
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Chairman Nick Locke preparing for Weobley's Herefordshire League Premier Division debut
10:00am Thursday 29th August 2013 in Sport
WEOBLEY FC are preparing for a new adventure with just a couple of days to go before their debut season in the Premier Division of the Herefordshire League gets under way.
But their new chairman, Nick Locke, has just completed a major adventure of his own.
“My wife Nadia and I have just returned after spending five months travelling around the world on our honeymoon,” he said.
“We saw the Rio Carnival, watched football in Sydney and in Brazil as well as swimming with dolphins in New Zealand which was pretty cool.”
But now, the 28-year-old is preparing for the top-flight debut as Weobley reach the pinnacle of Herefordshire football after their formation in 1990.
“We are really excited about it,” said Locke.
“We have had a good pre-season and are looking forward to taking on the established teams.
“Our manager Lee Davies has been involved with the club since day one and he has always wanted to compete at this level.
“He has got the club playing a really good brand of football.”
The villagers should certainly move up with plenty of confidence after an excellent campaign in 2012-13.
“We did the treble last year, winning the HFA Burghill Cup and the HFA Junior Cup as well as winning Division One of the Herefordshire League by a record margin,” said the chairman.
“We have a good squad to build upon and, at pre-season training, there have been new faces coming along each week.”
In contrast with the long-serving Davies, Locke is a relative newcomer to Weobley football, although not to the sport itself.
“I grew up as a Liverpool fan — my dad was a glory supporter of the 1960s and 70s and there are pictures of me in Liverpool baby-grows,” he said. “It was just drummed into me.
“I did my teacher training at Rolle College in Exmouth and worked in Plymouth for a couple of years before Nadia graduated.
“Then I got a job at Weobley Primary School and I worked there until December 2012.
“I coached the school team and the boys in the team kept on asking me to go along and watch them play for Weobley.
“Then I started coaching and I found that quite addictive.”
From there, it was just another step up to the chairman’s job.
“People tell me that I am quite an organised person,” he said. “I used to send texts around with my ideas and then I asked if I could take on the chairman’s job. All the coaches backed me.”
Although he admits not to being a particularly good footballer himself, Locke, who will shortly be starting a new job at Barrs Court School, is looking forward to leading the side forward.
“We shall be trying to push the good teams and we’ll be going in to try to win the league,” he said.
“There is no point in going into a game unless you are aiming to win.”
Locke added: “But our first match is against Westfields Reserves and our second home game is against Ewyas Harold, who were runners-up.
“In between, we have a match with Pegasus Reserves so we’ll have to hit the ground running and it will show us exactly what we are up against.”
Beyond this season, Weobley will be looking to progress still further although Locke admits that would be a long-term rather than a short-term aim.
“Most of the players are from the village or the surrounding area and that gives us the camaraderie of a small village team,” he said. “We are always looking to gain more coaches and, while we have an under-10 and an under-12 team at the moment, we would like to fill in all the other age-groups.
“I am keen to make Weobley FC a real part of the local community and promote how our youth teams are open to children of all abilities across the local area, too.
“Longer-term, we want to make ourselves viable financially and we draw inspiration from the likes of Westfields and Wellington - perhaps there is something lucky about the letter ‘W’.”
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